Motivational Interviewing (MI) Worksheets

As a mental health practitioner, having the right tools can help you more successfully deliver Motivational Interviewing to your clients.

Our Motivational Interviewing Worksheets (Editable, Fillable, Printable PDFs) are perfect for counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, and other mental health professionals. Our Motivational Interviewing Worksheets can be downloaded and used with all your clients, giving them the ability to fill it out on a digital device or print it out.

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Clinicians can use Motivational Interviewing (MI) therapy worksheets to effectively treat their clients. These worksheets provide clinicians with the appropriate tools to effectively establish a treatment plan throughout the therapy process. 

What is Motivational Interviewing?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a popular psychological counseling approach that provides a more empathetic process to allow patients to create the internal motivation needed to make healthy life changes usually stemming from negative health behaviors. Originally designed in the 1980’s to address addiction, this method has been seen to be useful in treatment for many reasons ranging from management of physical health to preparing patients for more intensive therapy. In some cases, clinicians may opt to combine standard MI with different types of treatment most commonly being Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). Tested in Project MATCH in 1993, MET uses motivational psychology techniques practiced within the framework of MI along with a more structured approach that involves systemic feedback based on the findings.  

How Does Motivational Interviewing Therapy Work?

Accompanied by a multitude of other therapies, to best understand how MI and MET work both together and independently it is important to understand its origins. In 1980, William R. Miller conducted a clinical study of behavioral therapy for problem drinking. Miller trained 9 counselors in behavioral self-control and accurate empathy, requiring them to counsel outpatients while varying the level at which they expressed empathic understanding while delivering behavioral therapy. 6 months after treatment, results showed a surprising two-thirds variance in client drinking that continued to yield results into the 12-24 month range. In 1989, Miller met Stephen Rollnick; an avid supporter of the use of MI for substance abuse patients and eventually went on to co-author the original MI book in 1991. Having been practiced since the 1980’s, clinicians have found the most success centering focus around motives and the desire for change in the patient’s life by providing reflective listening and expressing acceptance. MI is usually a 1 to 2 session treatment guided by 4 key principles. 


The clinician expresses understanding of the patient’s experiences and feelings, providing a supportive environment to express beliefs. 


The clinician promotes the patient’s belief in themselves and their ability to make and sustain desired changes in their life by highlighting their strengths.


Clinicians remain wary of becoming argumentative in cases that patients begin struggling to continue change and become resistant to solutions provided.

Discrepancy Development

The clinician helps the patient to identify behaviors and practices that inhibit them from reaching their goals. With the proper training to be able to identify these discrepancies, the patient will be able to implement learned solutions.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Developed shortly after Project MATCH, MET is usually used along with MI to add the discussion of various systemic findings like relapse rates. MET generally consists of about 4-6 sessions in which the clinician provides feedback based on previous assessments, giving patients a broader few of concerns that may not have been realized before. Counseling is non-confrontational and non-judgmental with a focus to avoid diagnostic labels to emphasize personal control. 

Which Conditions can Motivational Interviewing Help With?

MI is used for a variety of reasons but it can also be very specific as to where it can be effective depending on the patient and their goals in seeking treatment. Research has shown that treatment is most effective when the patient begins treatment severely lacking motivation entirely as compared to those patients that were initially motivated to make positive changes. Clinicians can monitor the process of treatment following the 5 Stages of Change which are pre-contemplation of change, contemplation of change, determination to sustain change, action, and maintenance of changes made. MI has been proven to be effective for those in treatment for the following:

  • Substance use disorder
  • Smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Medication adherence
  • Cancer care
  • Diabetes care
  • Poor health behaviors among children

How Effective is Motivational Interviewing?

Research has shown that Motivational Interviewing is very effective. With early implementation of MI principles boasting a two-thirds success rate for things like problem drinking and drug abuse, MI is not a universal fit for all psychological disorders. Along with great results and long term benefits, there are many fair criticisms as listed below:

Benefits of Motivational Interviewing

Let’s review some benefits of Motivational Interviewing:

Increased Desire of Participation

One of the crucial practices of MI is straightforward engagement with patients making them more receptive to treatment. In a study comparing MI to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, patients were twice as likely to continue MI rather than Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Motivation for Long-Term Change in High-Risk Behaviors

Since its inception, MI has been proven to be very effective in treating those suffering from various forms of substance abuse problems. A common thought shared by those suffering from addiction and substance abuse is that total abstinence seems unattainable; making it difficult to admit to the need for change regardless of its negative effects. MI is centered around building a patient’s motivation to obtain and complete treatment, with patients showing sometimes 20% percent increases in ability to reduce high-risk behavior.

Increased Self-Confidence

MI allows patients to learn to take on the responsibility for making changes in their life thus building confidence in themselves. Many patients seeking MI experience low self-esteem that directly combats their ability to make their desired life changes but as they achieve their desired result they begin to build a greater sense of confidence and higher self-esteem.

Becoming More Self-Reliant

Giving patients new motivation to achieve and maintain life goals, patients learn to rely on coping mechanisms learned during MI. In cases of patients with diabetes, lifestyle changes can be so effective that they no longer need to rely solely on medication.

Possible Limitations

Time to Establish a Relationship

Being a very personal and empathetic therapy style, MI sometimes requires lengthy amounts of time to establish trust and understanding between clinicians and patients.

Cognitive Clarity/Motivation of Client

Some patients suffering from disorders causing impairment of cognitive clarity may at times lack the facilities to formulate an effective plan.

Consistent Follow-up

It is crucial that clinicians are able to follow up with patients at various times after using MI techniques to ensure effectiveness and progress in achieving their goals. Most clinicians find it effective to evenly spread follow ups for up to 12 months after treatment.

Final Thoughts on Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) therapy is proven to be highly effective. However, it is important to keep in mind that it was developed to treat patients that suffer from disorders that affect their overall well being related to their physical health. Motivation, consistency, and cognitive clarity are the key drivers this technique requires in order for its success. If you find an individual that exemplifies the characteristics of the conditions listed above, think of using motivational interviewing therapy  to treat them.

Why Motivational Interviewing Worksheets?

Motivational Interviewing (MI) worksheets are tools used in therapy to help individuals identify and overcome ambivalence or resistance to change. MI is a type of therapy that aims to enhance motivation and commitment to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence, and helping individuals to identify and achieve their goals.

Some of the key benefits of using Motivational Interviewing worksheets include:

  1. Exploring and resolving ambivalence: MI worksheets provide a structured approach to exploring and resolving ambivalence to change, which is a common barrier to making positive changes in behavior. By exploring ambivalence, individuals can identify and address the underlying reasons for their resistance to change, and develop a greater commitment to making positive changes.
  2. Setting achievable goals: MI worksheets can be used to help individuals set achievable goals that are aligned with their values and priorities. By setting achievable goals, individuals can build confidence in their ability to make positive changes and stay motivated to achieve their goals.
  3. Enhancing motivation and commitment to change: MI worksheets can be used to enhance motivation and commitment to change, by exploring the pros and cons of making positive changes, and identifying the benefits of achieving their goals.
  4. Building self-efficacy: MI worksheets can be used to build self-efficacy, or confidence in one’s ability to make positive changes. By building self-efficacy, individuals can overcome self-doubt and increase their motivation to make positive changes.

Overall, MI worksheets provide a valuable tool for individuals looking to overcome ambivalence or resistance to change, and achieve their goals. By exploring and resolving ambivalence, setting achievable goals, enhancing motivation and commitment to change, and building self-efficacy, individuals can make positive changes in their behavior and lead a more fulfilling life.

Why Our Motivational Interviewing Worksheets?

Our Motivational Interviewing worksheets are designed to help practitioners deliver therapy to their clients more effectively.

Benefits of our Motivational Interviewing Worksheets:

  • Take in responses from clients on a digital device like a computer
  • Organize client documents in an easy to find folder on your computer or in the cloud
  • Search for specific questions and/or answers by using “CTRL + f” function on your keyboard when viewing your PDF
  • Legibly read your client’s answers
  • Print copies that are high in quality – (we made this form grey on purpose! Much easier on your printer)

Key Features of Our Motivational Interviewing Worksheets:

  • US letter size (8.5″ x 11″)
  • Fillable / Printable
  • Editable (If you need to make changes, we can provide you with a free editing website that will allow you to make changes to questions/statements)
  • Checkboxes
  • Longform responses
  • Short form responses

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